dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
The irritating thing about the upcoming "Lizzie washes windows the wrong damned way and ends up fearing for her safety" strip is having to remember that Elly always seems to call her mother to scream about how her horrible children have disappointed her. If you're like me, you're going to assume that Marian yearned for the sweet release of Death when Elly phoned because she dreaded having to stifle herself and not ask very good questions because she sort of knew the answers.

First off, Marian had twigged to not being able to ask Elly "Why didn't you tell Lizzie how not to do that chore?" because she'd long ago figured out that her child never quite outgrew the assumption that everyone in the world saw the world precisely as she did. This made Marian afraid because she could foresee something others could not: Elly assuming that "Well, since I wouldn't drink weed killer/play around a river when there's a flood warning/stick a barrette in a wall socket/eat something handed to me by someone who really wanted to see what happened, my child would not either because s/he has my understanding of events" leading to an avoidable calamity.

Secondly, she had long since learned not to ask Elly why she didn't show her how to do the thing because that led to endless whining about how that would mean having to do the chore herself thereby somehow erasing her personality and turning her into a grinning robot without a will of her own who could only care about the unimportant and useless things children wasted their lives with.

Finally, there is one question that was clearly too dangerous to be asked: "Are you setting your children up to fail on purpose just so you can be angry with them because you think that's what being a mother is?" This is because she remembers something that would drive Elly into a big, screaming fit: Elly isn't aware of what she actually believes. Marian knows that Elly assumes sight-unseen that her children are all always-chaotic evil monsters trying to destroy her while at the same time believing herself to be an open-minded parent who believes in the innocence of her children. She can't tell her child that she's a doubleplusgood doublethinker without getting mauled.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The interesting thing about this year is that if I remember correctly, we're about to see Mike's last season of pee-wee hockey. This means no more of Elly whining about sitting on a cold bench, no more yowling about her precious free time going away and no more having to care about silly team sports that lead inevitably her having to thanklessly nurse a hopeless cripple after a sports injury destroys Mike somehow. The reason that I mention this is that another baseless anxiety is about to take its place this August. This anxiety has curly hair, freckles and parents who think that her poor angel Mike is a sex offender bent on its ruination.

Yep. That's right. No sooner does he give up on the team sports of encouraging violence to mothers does he start getting interested in cheap little floozies who clearly want to trap him in their web and destroy his loving mother's hopes for his glorious future. Or, to put in English instead of Crazed Egomaniac, Elly needs something to fear, hate and worry about in order to feel alive. It just so happens that a slip of a girl whose folks think of that dreg Mike as THAT boy from THAT family takes the place of sports for a while.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Now, we know that the whole entire point of any arc in which Elly deliberately refuses to buy herself something nice in order to shame people is clearly to force us all to clutch dumpy idiot Elly to our collective bosom and cry bitter angry tears because her selfish children and husband spend money on themselves while being blinded to the fact that she too likes nice things. The problem is that we are also being asked to make them grovel pathetically for forgiveness because Elly doesn't actually tell them out loud that she likes nice things. They're supposed to know this without her having to say it and when people tell her that she has to say things to be heard, she whines that no one hears her anyway.

What she loses sight of is, of course, the fact that people are listening but don't especially want to because what she says doesn't make a damned bit of sense. From the dawn years in which she would rather save face than be a loving mother to the declining years in which she started bellowing about quitting motherhood at the first hint of disagreement, she's lived with the fear that no one takes her seriously. The problem is that people actually take her too seriously because she usually doesn't really know what's going on so can't have a valid opinion.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we all know, Lynn had to be talked out of turning her strip into a D-grade soap opera strip. The people surrounding her knew that the daytime drama plots she wanted to inject into the strip would so destroy the premise that Lynn would have wound up standing in the burning wreckage of the franchise screaming about injustice because she was unable to understand the parable of Batman at the 4077. Just as one cannot accept a scenario in which a campy superhero barges into Alan Alda's preachfest waiting for Cesar Romero to show up, it would destroy the Pattersons were they to mutate from realistic suburbanites into soap opera weirdos on a dime but you can't tell Lynn that because she hates reality. The reason that I mention this is that it seems to me that Lynn, John, Mike, April and Liz aren't alone in turning innocent bystanders into monsters from the televised id bent on ruining their lives. Elly does so too and in doing so, she really kind of made a dog's breakfast of her kids' social lives.

We're about to see the illness become virulent over the next few years when she starts shitting bricks turning a wispy little girl with parents who see her baby boy as a threat to be avoided into a menace to her family. You would have thought that Elly would look at Martha and see someone a lot like she was at that age: a confused and unhappy slip of a thing with parents who sat on her and friends who are hard to tell from enemies. You would be wrong because despite knowing on an intellectual level that what she sees on movies and the like isn't real, part of Elly's fear of Martha must have stemmed from watching too much the television and confusing it with reality. She let her envy of girls with active social lives team up with the nightmare fantasy image of the teenaged monster girl trying to derail the brilliant career of an innocent and rock and roll all over Martha. In so doing, she proved Mencken right when he said that a misogynist is a man who hates women almost as much as women do.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As yet another winter draws closer, we have to remind ourselves that Elly is often on the outside looking in when the rest of them enjoy winter sports. While we're supposed to pity her because they ask too much of her, an objective look at things reminds us that Elly is not especially steady on her feet. This means that she can't ski or skate or do anything fun. As they enjoy themselves, she sits on her ass burning with resentment because somehow, it's their fault that her centre of balance is located three metres behind her fat ass. They must then be trying to mangle her so they can park her somewhere and forget her and fold towels the wrong way.

This is because Elly has an innate and exaggerated dread of physical injury. This means that she cannot enjoy sports because she pictures herself as the person who's bound to be horribly injured and left to rot in some hospital somewhere forever and ever or as the person who's supposed to give up everything forever and nurse a hopeless cripple and never be allowed to object.

When we factor in the fact that Elly is incapable of understanding that people have tastes that differ from her own, it becomes sadly obvious that this is why she fears and hates anything fun and enjoyable and can't open her tiny mind. She can't sit back and say that skating or skiing or snowmobiling or the like are good things she can't partake in; she has to make sure that no one can enjoy things she can't so she doesn't have to hear the cruel and evil word "killjoy." It's why she hates John's cars as well. They're too flashy and fun for someone who won't let herself enjoy life.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The other day, I decided to look in at the Das Sporking community as they dissected some irritating multi-series bus crash magic girl crossover deal and just for kicks, I compared Lynn to Gen Urobuchi in that they're both arrogant egomaniacs who let a childhood trauma dictate how they see the world. One of the sporkers resonated to that vibe because it's annoying to read a long-runner where everyone who says that the main characters are in the wrong is a supervillain. If this person is watching, here's my attempt to explain why.

The strip that most readily explains why people who don't like what the Pattersons do are extra-bad people is Elly describes the Anthony/Therese/Liz dynamic as being complicated when it's bloody simple. There are two salient facts that have to be taken into consideration:

  1. Anthony and Therese were in a crappy, turmoil-enriched starter marriage that was doomed to fail because they went into it for all the wrong reasons. She wanted to kick start his ambition to prove to her unreconstructed idiot dad that having ovaries didn't mean she lacked business acumen and he, having fallen in love with a fantasy projection of what he only thought Liz was because he came from a blended family and that's terrible because reasons, wanted to recreate the 'perfect' home he 'deserved' at any cost to other people.
  2. Liz is an immature jerk who'll be acting in a childish manner when she's seventy and who also has no sense of what boundaries are because she was raised not to recognize them.

The problem is that Elly doesn't want to face the fact that Liz is a clingy annoyance who regards a social norm that requires her to deny herself a desire as an evil because she was raised to think that way by parents who also hate self-sacrifice any more than she wants to face up to the fact that Anthony is in love with an illusion and will commit any breach of decency in order to make his opium dream of a fifties sitcom into a disturbing and antisocial reality. Since she doesn't want to see Anthony as being a creep or herself as being an irresponsible parent who unleashed one of Brooke McEldowney's amoral idiot monster women on the world, it stands to reason that Therese has to be assigned the evil motives that Liz and Anthony actually have in order to spare the Pattersons from having to see themselves as the monsters everyone else sees.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
In about two years' time, we're about to be subjected to something that might drive [livejournal.com profile] jdillon bonkers. This is because once again, Elly takes offense to her children swearing where she can hear it and decides to take steps to 'save' them from an ill-defined calamity she blames on the media. Since the nanny state isn't doing its job of keeping children from cursing by having a select committee of maiden aunts vet what can be broadcast, the children have to be denied television for their own good for a couple of weeks so that they can discover the Joys Of Reading.

The first Great Big Problem with all of this is that there is nothing for the children to actually read for enjoyment. Just as the children are supposed to magically develop good table manners despite being exposed to parents whom a group of Klingons would describe as having barbaric table manners, they're supposed to develop an appreciation for the written word despite having parents who are too busy to read to them, a bookcase filled with boring reference manuals because children's literature encourages belief in fantasy and is thus counterrevolutionary and a mother who has turned the library into a no-go zone because a refusal to admit that children are allowed to be curious about what adults do makes her think that her job and her children should never mix. As it is with the Pattersnarfing and Elly's refusing to admit that they model themselves after her and John, it's their fault for not doing something that she's made impossible.

The second Great Big Probiem is that she folds when she realizes that her children don't actually like being regarded as being exponents of chaos who want to ruin her. Despite the encouraging words from fellow idiot Connie about how they'll thank her for caring enough to be a capricious maniac who wants to see them as eldritch abominations, it hurts her to feel that her children don't like being thought of as monsters. She hates not being liked and thus whines piteously about how much she hates disciplining the children when the plain fact is that the only thing she hates is being called on being an idiot who doesn't know what she's doing or who she's dealing with. She loves being angry, she just hates being angry at the wrong people.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The interesting thing about the on-site biographies is not that as a general rule, we have a sensitive soul being crushed by Self-Righteous Patriarch and his accomplice Wife Who Traded Her Decency For THINGS And Status only to be rescued by the Sainted Patterson Family from whom all blessings flow. The interesting thing is that the Janice Madigan wanted to set up as a foil for Elly has all but forgotten who Elly is. By now, Milborough is simply a distant and vaguely troubling memory concerning this one kid who had a really bossy and angry mother who didn't actually seem to like kids at all and certainly didn't approve of anything like fun. On those minutes she does vaguely call to mind the maniac with the obsession with sweeping her back porch like someone's actually keeping score, she ascribes it to the depressing phenomenon of someone who shouldn't have had kids thinking she had to.

The reason that I mention is that that while she only sort of remembers an angry hindrance to playtime and excitement, it's fairly obvious that Elly's ability to focus on slights and inconveniences and thus to hold grudges for decades means that she's still angry at this kid for getting Mike wound up and for chasing Farley around and generally exposing her to the terrible spectre of actually having to wonder what Mike is doing when she isn't looking at him. How dare this thing come along and make her realize that Mike isn't going to stand around like a block of granite when she isn't thinking about him and how dare she leave for parts unknown before she can get her own back.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
One of the more amusing elements of the Settlepocalypse is that the sole contribution Elly made to the wedding itself was to predict glorious happiness because Anthony's step-mother defers to her at every turning and allows her her proper place as the dominant person in Liz and Anthony's lives. Clarice Caine isn't going to be some pushy ethnic wanting to enslave anyone in her family politics and show up where she should know she isn't wanted and question anything a Patterson might do. She also isn't going to lose her temper and be a monster of wounded pride when someone dares to speak to her in a way in which she isn't accustomed and make a horrible, hateful comment about how she's a meddling old hen who should finally shut up and quit making everything about herself.

If this sounds like something I've said before, it's not really a surprise. That's because Elly is also a vain halfwit who likes getting her own way all the time, doesn't react well to the insinuation that she's a meddling old bat who's only doing things to further her own agenda and damn the cost to everyone else and also likes to cry piteously about how no one listens to her advice that isn't totally freaking worthless. Putting two old women of bad character who have an overweening need to shout and whine everyone into compliance is just asking for trouble and trouble is what's got. The situation that it most reminds me of is something that will be made clear in the current reload of the Archie mythos. We're about to be reminded that the reason why it is Daddy's Little Fixer hates the budding Macchivel with the burger addiction like fire is that they see in one another a powerful rival that might hinder a long-term plan. More on that and the rest of the new-old Riverdale gang in the next few days.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we saw the other day, Elly's reaction to a bit of minor good news was to gasp in horror because she thought that she was being mocked or something or treated like an afterthought they were throwing a bone to or something because her boss made the mistake of admitting that she was a replacement for someone else. To a regular person, this would be pretty good news. Sure, you're someone's Plan B but they think enough of you to give you a chance to be heard. Elly isn't a regular person. Elly focuses on the fact that she's thought of as a relief hitter and stands there thinking that no one really wants to hear her voice or make a difference or anything. It's like how she's eventually going to think that the librarians didn't really like her because they couldn't do a bloody thing about the budget cuts that lost her the cozy little identity she'd made for herself.

Simply put, Elly has a problem she doesn't seem to be aware of and denies having when it's pointed out to her because she unfailingly focuses on the downside of every blasted thing that happens to be and magnifies how bad bad is going to get. Casually being told she's an alternate means that no one actually wants her to speak. Lizzie's developing a distinct personality and starting to stand up for herself is a horrible tragedy in which her innocent baby has been replaced by a monster who wants to beat her poor mother to her knees because that's the same thing that happened to Michael. April's arrival isn't a blessed event but actually THE WORST THING EVER because she's stuck with diaper rash instead of a career and her dreams of travel and a career were derailed forever......until they weren't.

This sort of thing makes me wonder if just maybe, Elly is a tragic character with a fatal flaw: a biological inability to be satisfied for very long because of an exaggerated fear she doesn't realize she has that if she relaxes, people are going to appear from nowhere and rip her into mincemeat just for shits and giggles. She is capable of enjoying things for oh-so-brief moments of time but sooner or later, the voice in her head that fears attack dominates the internal conversation and there she is again, turning a free lunch into a cruel imposition by monsters who seek her downfall. She only occasionally admits to the demon of terror and hate that holds her and her family hostage but most of the time, she denies its existence because admitting to it makes her not normal.


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